About Direct Payments

Direct payments are purpose bound local authority grants which revolutionised the way individuals pay for their care.

It provides individuals more choice and control over how their care is provided. This means that an individual has a choice of who will actually provide the care, and what activities the individual would like to pursue to enhance their well-being.

This has now been made a right under The Care Act 2014(The Care and Support (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014), which has means that the take up for direct payments has varied according to where you live in the country. An individual can choose to have all of their care paid via a direct payment or paid for in certain parts. If an individual choses for their care to paid in certain parts, the local authority will pay the home care provider directly whilst paying the individual for their transport or activities.

Carers Uk, AgeUK and Alzheimers Society have all produced guides, which explain different ways in which people have used Direct Payments to provide support that best meets their wishes.(www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/gettingcare-and-support/direct-payments AgeUk Fact Sheet 24: Personal Budgets and Direct Payments in adult social care April 2016   Alzheimers Society Fact Sheet 473 LP Personal Budgets ).

Direct payment options are calculated through an assessment by the Social Services Department within their Local Authority, if they are found to need support this support is calculated in terms of hours and produces a personal budget. This budget can be converted into a cash amount, which is sent monthly to an individual as the Direct Payment. 

An individual has to be able to consent to receiving a Direct Payment but that does not mean that they have to completely understand the process or be able to organise it themselves. An individual can have a “nominated person” to do this for them and the nominated person would receive the Direct Payment and manage it on the individual's behalf. If someone lacks the mental capacity to understand Direct Payments then an “authorised person” can request a Direct Payment for them. It is only in very limited situations where individuals under specific parts of the Mental Health Act or offenders who are required to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, that the Social Services Departments may not offer Direct Payments.

When an individual receives Direct Payments there are specific requirements that must be complied with. The individual receiving Direct Payments must keep records and account for how the money is spent to the Local Authority. These processes can vary around the country but may include opening a separate bank account for receiving Direct Payments and sending copies of the bank statements to the Local Authority.

About Direct Payment Care

If an individual decides that they would like to pay to have a personal assistant rather than someone from a care agency, then they can do this but would need to advertise, recruit and employ this person themselves. This means that the individual receiving DP becomes an employer and is now responsible for pay, sickness and holiday issues. To account for this task, the Local Authority has put in place advice and support for individuals to help with these official requirements.This support is seen as part of the Direct Payment and there will be an additional payment to account for these additional services.

The Direct Payment is counted as any other care service that a Local Authority provides. This means that individuals must still be assessed under The Fairer Charging process to determine whether they will have to contribute a certain percentage of their own savings to finance their care support. (Fairer Charging Guidance Department of Health 2013).

At The Money Carer Foundation we have a number of clients who receive either a full Direct Payment for all of their support or a partial Direct Payment for certain needs. As such we are able to receive the Direct Payment into a separate bank account, where required, and perform as well as comply with the daily tasks required by the Local Authority.

We do not provide the facility to manage any payroll or employment issues for personal assistants but we liaise with various payroll organisations around the country who can assist on such matters. We are fully equipped to effectively manage Direct Payments for anyone who wishes to delegate the daily tasks required of Direct Payments.

At The Money Carer Foundation we are committed to individuals having as much control over their support package as is possible and understand the impact that Direct Payments can have in improving life opportunities and well being for those we care about.           

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